1986 Holden Calais VL 3.0L SOHC Straight 6 from Australia and New Zealand
Nothing with this particular one, however I owned an VL Commodore SL previously and it had the typical VL Commodore problems like the crank angle sensor, it went through 3 starter motors and the synchro in 2nd gear started to go after a while.
Apart from that I was extremely lucky to get a fairly reliable and well looked after VL. My new VL (the Calais) is in a class of its own. It has been almost completely rebuilt, however not in an over the top way. It's no show pony, but it is definitely one of the nicest daily driven VL's I've ever seen.
OK I'm not going to go into too much detail on my current VL because, like I said above, it has been almost completely rebuilt. It's like a new car, so I don't think it's a fair representation of all VL's, so I'll try to keep it fairly general as I have owned another VL previously.
Alright, well let's start with styling. While it's not everyone's cup of tea, I think it's the best looking Commodore full stop. It is obviously a first generation Commodore, but it looks quiet a bit different to the VB-VK models, which in my opinion is great, I like things a bit different. Interior wise, it's definitely an 80's car with the plastic, boxy looking dash and fairly average looking seats, which are actually fairly comfortable.
As for the engine, well as some of you may know, Nissan's RB series of engines are legendary and while this may not be the king of the RB's, it certainly has enough grunt to have a bit of fun and not get too bored. I unfortunately haven't driven a turbo VL, but my Calais has a little bit of engine work done, and in theory has about the same amount of power as the standard turbo model. In my opinion, while it definitely isn't a rocket, it isn't a slouch either.
There were a choice of three gearbox's to go with these engines. The MF5 5 speed manual from the non-turbos, the MX7 from the turbo models and of course the 4 speed auto. As I said above, both my VL's were non turbos so I've only had the experience of the MF6, which is fairly good with the only problem usually being that the synchro for 2nd gear doesn't like living for very long. Apart from that I can't complain.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the VL Commodore for someone who doesn't necessarily want a speedy car, but just wants something that looks cool, is comfortable on long trips and has a multitude of aftermarket parts if you ever get bored with it... These cars have a cult following, and after owning 2 of them, I'm hooked also.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th February, 2009